Spirit of the Ocean 1866

N50 13.288 W3 38.636

The painting above was in the “London Illustrated News in 1866 and depicts the Spirit of the Ocean breaking up on the cliffs to the east of Start Point. This 578 tons barque and was built in 1863, by Jones & Co and was originally owned by Messrs C. Walton and Croshaw & Co. Her Port of registry and survey was London. In the spring of 1866, under the command of Captain Carey, she was on route from Halifax Nova Scotia to London when she encountered a South West gale off the Devon coast. She was owned by Crawshaw of London and her general cargo valued at £50,000 was mostly salvaged from the wreck in the weeks following the sinking. Captain Carey had decided to try and reach the shelter of Dartmouth but the conditions were such that she lost the wind and drifted into the cliffs to the west of Start point. On board were a crew of eighteen and very few of them were qualified as able seamen and this was confirmed by a letter sent by one of the passengers who had posted it at the previous port of call. Including the passengers, only four of the forty two people on board were saved and that was only due to the gallantry of a local, Samuel Popplestone of Start Farm, who had swum out to the shipwreck. He was awarded the “Gold Medal”

The inkpot below is just one of the many objects recovered from the wreck. Some of them can be found on display at the Museum in Salcombe.